7 Ways to Slash Utility Spending!
Consider these inexpensive ways to save; install bulbs that use less energy, use appliances smartly (no half loads), clean your furnace and AC filters regularly, the list goes on ...!
Utility bills always hound us: we all use water and electricity. We all cook and heat or cool our homes, and for most of us, the internet, telephone, and TV are necessities. Whether you rent your home or own it, those bills are your responsibility, and sometimes they can be large, often larger than expected. If you've never received a bill that is shockingly high, you likely will eventually. It doesn't have to be that way. Let's go over some tips that will show you how to save money on utility bills.
Cut Non-Necessary Services
Most of us have at least one bill coming in each month for a service that we don't strictly need. If you're looking to cut your monthly utility budget, the simplest way to save big is to eliminate services that aren't entirely necessary. Your cable, satellite service, or home phone can probably go, assuming you're not under a super-restrictive contract with those companies.
You can watch a lot of your favorite shows for free online, or you can purchase a digital television antenna to pick up local channels. If you can't stomach the idea of going without television service, you might look into subscription services like Amazon Prime, Netflix, or Hulu, which tend to be less expensive than cable or satellite television service. If you get adequate cell service in your home, you can purchase home phone service for under $10 a month with Verizon Straight Talk.
If cutting these services just isn't in the cards, you might try calling your service provider. You can often get your bill lowered by either switching up your services or eliminating some unnecessary channels or features. Sometimes they'll reduce the bill just because you asked!
Batten Down the Hatches
Up to half of the energy used in your home goes to heating or cooling. You can save money on your heating and cooling bills by making your home more efficient.
First, close up any gaps in your home. One great way to do this is to re-caulk around windows and doors when it's needed. Ensure that you have the proper insulation installed. Pay particular attention to the attic, which is critical to retaining air that you have paid to heat or cool, and which is often under-insulated.
Furthermore, you can make your home more efficient by keeping your HVAC systems running properly. Get a professional tune-up for your furnace or AC unit at the start of every respective heating or cooling season. Changing your HVAC filters is one of the simplest ways you can keep your systems running at their best.
Consider an Energy Audit
If you suspect that your home is wasting energy but don't feel that you have the knowledge or skills to assess where to make needed repairs, you can hire a specialist to conduct an energy audit. This service will help you to understand how much energy your home uses, where it is used, and how you can use less. Any leaks in your home will be identified so that they can be closed up. Using less energy means you save money! You will have to assess the cost of repairs against the potential savings, but remember that the prices will keep going on, and on, and on. If the cost of repairs is really beyond your capability, the US Government's Weatherization Assistance Program, which helps homeowners and renters pay for needed energy-saving repairs, may be worth exploring.
Turn Down the Thermostat
You can expect to save between 1-3% on your utility bill for every degree you lower your thermostat in the winter. The chances that a one-degree difference will change your level of comfort too much are negligible. The odds of it reducing your bills in a very significant way are very good.
You can use a programmable thermostat to heat or cool your home more efficiently while you aren't there. Before you buy one, check with your providers. Many companies offer programmable thermostats to their customers for free!
Only Do Full Loads
You can save on almost all of your utilities by just waiting until you have a full load, whether you're talking dishes or laundry. You'll be running your dishwasher or washing machine less often, saving water, electricity, propane, or natural gas. You will have to avoid overloading these appliances as well: filling them to capacity but not beyond allows them to work at peak efficiency.
Make Smart Energy Investments
When you're looking at making investments in your home, keep in mind how these purchases or upgrades may affect your home's efficiency. It's wise to compare the long-term cost of more efficient options with more standard choices.
One way to save money on your electric bills is simply to shop for efficient appliances. Start by looking for the EnergyStar label. EnergyStar rated appliances have the most efficient options for major appliances on the market. There are even EnergyStar rated building materials available, like windows and roofing materials. Choosing these products when you upgrade your home means that you're making a smart choice when it comes to reducing energy usage and reducing long-term recurring expenses.
One very simple way that you can lower your utility costs by investing in smart products is to switch out your light bulbs for more efficient CFL or LED bulbs if you haven't already. You can switch every bulb in your house in about an hour and for just a few bucks a bulb. These bulbs use less electricity and last significantly longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.
Be Conscious of Usage
One of the least complicated ways to lower your utility spending is to be more considerate when you're using your utilities. Turn off lights that you don't need. Shut off the television before you leave the room, and make your long distance calls during off-peak hours. You can use an energy use monitor to check out how much electricity every plugged-in item in your home uses. Turn off the tap while you brush your teeth, and switch out your showerheads for ones that use less water. Simple awareness can reduce your utility consumption and spending by a considerable amount.
All of these are small things, and most of them don't cost you a penny. Put together, though; they can add up to a significant difference in your monthly bills. A penny saved is a penny earned, and a conscious, consistent effort to reduce your utility spending can save you a lot of pennies!